Miles of twisty, crinkly sparkly garland, vintage Coca-Cola signs, retro reindeer and more blow molds than you can shake a candlestick at, Christmas Town has gone retro with the all new Holiday Hills area. If you’ve ever wanted to step back in time, Busch Gardens Williamsburg is the place to do it.
The Festa Italia section of the park has been transformed into a stroll through a 1950s Christmas card. Oversized Santa heads, prancing reindeer, toy soldiers, singing angels, glowing candlesticks and classic Coke signs (complete with a sipping Santa) all give a nostalgic feeling of another place in time. I really enjoyed this section and hope to make it back just to walk around some more, as well as catch a ride on the Peppermint Twist (teacups) and Snowman Summit.
Here are a few more of my favorite scenes from Holiday Hills.
The rest of the park is equally decked out in more than two, or three, or six million lights and holiday cheer. The SkyRide takes guests high over the park for a great light-gazing show, while Mach Tower, operating at a slow pace, gives an even higher bird’s-eye-view of the park. Take a frosty ride through the Black Forest on Verbolten, also open during Christmas Town evenings.
I like to take it easy, and Europe in the Air is much more my style.
Musical shows like Gloria! and Deck the Halls show off the immense talents of Busch Gardens’ performers. Gloria! brings the story of Christmas and the nativity to life with songs like “Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem,” while Deck the Halls, in Das Festhaus, offers a lively song and dance ensemble of Christmas carols, along with a few favorite characters.
Here are a few favorites from Deck the Halls.
Miracles, in the outdoor Il Teatro di San Marco Theatre, is another must-see production that takes guests on a sweeping journey of classical music, song and dance. The little ones will enjoy A Sesame Street Christmas featuring Big Bird, Cookie, Elmo, Abby Cadabby and the rest of the furry, fun-loving gang.
My interests always run to the merchandise side of things and Busch Gardens manages to put as much of the Christmas spirit into their stores as the rest of the park.
Here is one of my favorite scenes at Christmas Town or any day of the year. I can never visit the park without a stop at the Highland Stables.
Even rides that aren’t operating during Christmas Town offer the opportunity for magical decorations and lights. Pompeii looks so dressed up in its coat of water-inspired lights. I just adore the purple trees along the pathway.
Of course, Christmas Town can’t be complete without those cute, waddling guys in tuxedos. Even if Mr. Popper is not around, penguins make any day much more fun.
O Tannenbaum is a spectacular light show choreographed to a musical score. This 50-foot Christmas tree in the Oktoberfest Village is the place to be for a magical ending to any Christmas Town adventure.
On a final note, it is almost worth the admission price just to try all of the food, desserts and tasty treats available during Christmas Town. You’ll notice I don’t have any photos. My traveling companions tend to quickly gobble things up that aren’t glued to the plate. I recommend the pumpkin cheesecake and anything from Trapper’s Smokehouse, which offers a wide variety of frontier-style meals such as BBQ ribs, sliced brisket, super thick turkey sandwiches, smoked chicken and the best baked beans and macaroni and cheese around. Also, and this is just me, but I cannot leave the park without a freshly made pretzel from the German bakery. Guests can watch through the window as the pretzels are being made.
For more information on Christmas Town, please check out my theme park column at Examiner.com.
For a peek into Christmas Town Florida-style, including snow, head on over to Busch Gardens Tampa at AdventuresByDaddy.com.
Disclosure: The author received complimentary admission to Christmas Town as part of Busch Gardens’ Social Media Event. All opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author.